Twenty years ago, on Sept. 11, 2001, State Rep. Chris Paddie (R-Marshall) was living in Houston with his wife and then 3-month-old son.
He got up and went to work just like any other day.
“There were a lot of other people who got up just like any other day and went through those same routines,” Paddie said. “There were people that boarded a morning flight. There were people that got up and went to their office building for work like a normal day. There were firefighters who just started another shift like any old day. There were police officers who went on patrol just like any other day. Little did they know, or any of us know, that that would not be a normal day, that they would be doing those things for the last time.”
Panola County residents gathered to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on Saturday with a memorial walk.
In his speech before the walk began, Paddie recognized those who lost their lives and those who continue working as first responders to this day.
“It’s such a chill reminder of how precious each day is, and tomorrow’s not promised, and that maybe we should be more mindful of that,” he said. “Obviously as we are here today to remember and honor those that were lost that day, we’re also here certainly to honor first responders everywhere and most specifically right here in this community who are the folks that, us normal citizens, as danger arises, we’re the ones who move away from it, but you’re the ones that run to it. We thank you for that; we can never thank you enough for what you do...
“We take it for granted far too often, and we’re sorry for that. So thank you for what you do to protect us and serve us so selflessly, and thank you for being here today, it was such an honor to join the rest of this community supporting you and honoring you and thanking you for the wonderful work that you do for us,” he said.
Community members walked two miles from the Panola County Courthouse to Carthage High School stadium, where a number of people also participated in a stair walk. People were able to walk up and down 343 stadium steps to honor the 343 firefighters who lost their life that day.